In the last 20 years, Newcastle United have attracted and signed players from all over the world. Well, almost from all four corners of the earth. Despite an influx of players from the Far East in recent years, it has been a market that Newcastle United have yet to delve into. However, 87 players who were born outside of the British Isles have represented Newcastle since 1993 and each one is plotted onto the map below – except for Jamaican born John Barnes, who I’ve not included being an adopted Englishman.
19 nations are represented from Europe and not surprisingly most players on the list have a French birthplace on their passport. We’ve always had a good link with the French, even the days before the recent influx from Graham Carr’s influence. Although like much of our other foreign signings, they’ve been hit and miss. For every David Ginola, Laurent Robert, Olivier Bernard, there’s been a Stephane Guivarch, Franck Dumas or even a Gabriel Obertan from our Gallic neighbours.
From a nation that has provided some of the world’s greatest players, we’ve had our share of flops from Spain. Jose Enrique is the only one that can be considered a success, even though he ditched us for Liverpool. Marcelino, Xisco and Albert Luque, despite wrapping it up against the Mackems, have all disappointed in the black and white jersey. They can’t blame it on the weather either, as their South American compatriots have fared better.
Several of our favoured signing successes have come from South America. Faustino Asprilla, flew into Newcastle amidst a snowstorm in a fetching fur coat to put pen to paper. Argentinians Coloccini and Gutierrez. as well has Peruvian trumpet player, Nobby Solano have all took to the North East as well. Similarly to our Spanish signings, we’ve manage to sign some donkeys from South America. Capaca, Fumaca, Christian Bassedas and Daniel Cordone proving that not all Brazilians and Argentinians are fluent in football.
We’ve been well represented by African born players, 15 players have descended from all parts of Africa. Strangely, we’ve had four Senegalese players born from the what seems to be the footballing capital of Senegal, Dakar – Papiss Cisse, Abdoulaye Faye, Amdy Faye and Lamine Diarra. We’ve had several players born in Nigeria, including our own Fenham Eusebio, one Foluwashola Ameobi, who was born in Zaria, Nigeria before moving to Newcastle when he was five. Brother Sammy was born in Newcastle.
In the above map, you can see a small island to the right of Madagascar. This is the Reunion Island, part of France and where left winger Laurent Robert was born.
NORTH AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA
There are a few from North America – the Gooch, David Edgar from Canada and Irishman Jimmy Crawford, who was born in Chicago, although the name doesn’t ring any bells with me.
We have two from down under, Craig Moore and Mark Viduka and that number could rise if the promising Curtis Good fulfils his potential.
Greg Dyke may have said that foreigners have ruined the English game, but I’m sure with other supporters they’ll agree that overall, they’ve embraced the game here. Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Cristiano Ronaldo, Gianfranco Zola to name a few that have sparkled in the Premier League, but within Newcastle we’ve had the pleasure of witnessing Asprilla’s jelly legs and wonderful hat-trick against Barcelona, Laurent Robert’s ridiculous goals (the one against Fulham still bamboozles me) and the mazy runs of Hatem. And who’s to say they’re just mercenaries and lack passion? We’ve seen the crazy celebration from Temuri, Tiote’s equaliser against Arsenal after being down 4-0 at half time and Niko’s bare chested celebrations against the mackems to name but a few.
In fact, 10 different foreign players have scored against the mackems too? Can you name them all?
I’ll leave you with some good videos of my two favourites who I’ve enjoyed watching.